One of the biggest annual tourism events once again comes to Portlaoise this weekend, when 61 Roses take part in the Regional Final of the Rose of Tralee.
The fun begins on Wednesday when a bouquet of beautiful International Roses book into the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel, arriving from the USA, Canada, Europe, Great Britain, Australia and the Middle East, with their families and supporters, later enjoying dinner in the Maldron Hotel.
They will be joined by the Irish Roses the next day, kicking off a whirlwind of social visits, and three nights of stage interviews by Daithi O Sé.
The 23 finalists, including seven Irish Roses, will be announced on Sunday night, and hopes are high that accomplised Laois teacher Teresa Brennan, 25, from Barrowhouse will be amonst them.
On Friday Teresa will welcome the Roses to her county at the official opening in Portlaoise Civic Plaza, and on Saturday she will lead a parade of vintage cars from the Gordon Bennett Irish Classic Car Run, filled with Roses and Rosebuds, through Portlaoise followed by a street party.
On Sunday morning the Roses will attend mass in St Peter & Paul’s Church then lunch in Castle Durrow.
Laois will be showcased for the weekend, with Roses visiting Mountmellick’s Summerfest, Laois Fleadh in Abbeyleix, and Emo Court.
There will also be two-wheel fun when the High Nellie Harriers join the Roses in stopping traffic in Portlaoise.
Laois County Manager Peter Carey is delighted to welcome the event once again.
“It promises to be a spectacular weekend. To include the Rose of Tralee as part of our county’s portfolio of attractions for the seventh year is of tremendous benefit from an economic, social and cultural perspective. For many of our guests, it will be their first visit to Ireland and we are delighted to extend a ‘Céad Míle Fáilte’ to Laois,” he said.
General Manager of the Rose of Tralee International Festival is Oliver Hurley.
“This is a major event on the tourism calendar for Laois as the event attracts visitors from all over the world. The Regional Festival significantly enhances the profile of the Rose of Tralee while generating a boost to the local economy. We know that our wonderful hosts in Laois will again lay on a spectacular welcome to our 61 Roses, their families and friends.”
The Rose of Tralee International Festival takes place in August.